Large-scale renovation of Erasmus Building planned for 2023
If everything goes as planned, a major renovation of the interior of the Erasmus Building will start in 2023. The technical equipment needs to be updated, and the interior layout of the building may change. Further investigations will help the Executive Board make decisions on the renovation.
The lifts have already been renovated and the new entrance should be ready by December, but most of the work on the Erasmus Building still has to begin. The building’s interior renovation is part of the University’s Multiannual Investment Prognosis. A further study will help the Executive Board to make decisions on the renovation.
‘See it as major maintenance,’ says Koen Fleuren, head of Projects at the Department of Property Management. The technical equipment in the Erasmus Building needs to be updated. The heating, air conditioning and the sewerage, for example, will be replaced as will the down pipes that run through all of the storeys. The appearance of the building also needs an update, and the building can be made more energy-efficient.
The bugs and mice sometimes seen in the building are not the reason why the building is to renovated. ‘They can always remain a problem,’ says Fleuren. ‘I can’t promise that they won’t reappear after the renovation.’
Open-plan office space
Fleuren explains that the renovation is also the ideal moment to rearrange the building’s interior layout. A few years ago as an experiment, an inner brick wall on the twentieth storey was replaced by a glass structure. This resulted in an open-plan office space rather than small separate rooms.
In principle, that same structure can be built on all storeys of the Erasmus Building. ‘We’re going to talk about this option with the people who use the building,’ Fleuren says. ‘Some faculties value the separate rooms, and others want a more open-space concept. But a mix is also possible.’
It’s not yet known whether the Erasmus Building will be renovated in phases – a few storeys at a time – or all at once. Fleuren: ‘Technically speaking, a lot is possible. But we want to limit the inconvenience as much as we can for the people remaining in the building.’
What has been decided is that at least some of the staff will be temporarily housed elsewhere. The Spinoza Building and the old Administration Building (Comeniuslaan 4, ed.) are among the possibilities. Both of these buildings will be vacated once the Maria Montessori Building has been finished.
Fleuren doesn’t rule out the possibility that those buildings might have to be adjusted for the people from the Erasmus Building who will be working there temporarily. ‘They’ll also need a good place to work.’
The question still remains as to why the lifts and the entrance were renovated before the rest of the building. ‘From a technical perspective, the lifts needed to be renovated first. This was related to their lifespan. We want to ensure that the lifts remain reliable and safe.’
The renovation of the entrance was connected to the renovation of the entire ground storey of the Erasmus Building. ‘It wasn’t very attractive. We wanted to create an area that was more attractive, modern and lively. Spar was the first step, De Refter the second and the entrance to the Erasmus Building was the third.’
Isn’t it cheaper to demolish the entire building and construct a new one? ‘There were never concrete plans for that,’ says Fleuren. ‘The Erasmus Building is the tallest building in Nijmegen. Can you and would you want to tear down such a prominent university building?’
After its renovation the Erasmus Building will be good for at least another thirty years, adds Fleuren. ‘Look at Dentistry: since the building’s renovation, it’s had the quality of a new building. That’s what we’re aiming for in the Erasmus Building.’